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A landmark of journalism and the art form of comics. Based on several months of research and an extended visit to the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the early 1990s, this is a major work of political and historical nonfiction.
Prior to Safe Area Gorazde: The War In Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995—Joe Sacco's breakthrough novel of graphic journalism—the acclaimed author was best known for Palestine, a two-volume graphic novel that won an American Book Award in 1996. Fantagraphics Books is pleased to present the first single-volume collection of this landmark of journalism and the art form of comics. Based on several months of research and an extended visit to the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the early 1990s (where he conducted over 100 interviews with Palestinians and Jews), Palestine was the first major comics work of political and historical nonfiction by Sacco, whose name has since become synonymous with this graphic form of New Journalism. Like Safe Area Gorazde, Palestine has been favorably compared to Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus for its ability to brilliantly navigate such socially and politically sensitive subject matter within the confines of the comic book medium. Sacco has often been called the first comic book journalist, and he is certainly the best. This edition of Palestine also features an introduction from renowned author, critic, and historian Edward Said (Peace and Its Discontents and The Question of Palestine), one of the world's most respected authorities on the Middle Eastern conflict.
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Editorial Reviews

Utne Reader
“Sacco uses the comic book format to its fullest extent, creating bold perspectives that any photojournalist would envy.”
Journal of Palestinian Studies
“Sacco is a pioneer.”
American in Auckland
“Based on his research, interviews, and personal experiences in Palastinian Occupied Territories in 1991 and 92, [Palestine] takes you there and gives you a first-hand account of the atrocities and suffering in the conflict with Israel. He gives you a close up visual rendering of the physical and emotional conditions of the people, who struggle daily for survival... Sacco has rendered the terrible conditions of life into a compelling and sympathetic artistic documentary. It is sad, but most good stories are sad... What’s better, his drawing is detailed and realistic, very approachable and interesting.”
Nasseer H. Azuri
“Sacco's Palestine brilliantly and poignantly captures the essence of life under a repressive and prolonged occupation.”
Entertainment Weekly
Reading [Palestine]'re astounded by the wealth of human voices, the literally warts-and-all passion of every side of the conflict.
Art Spiegelman
[Sacco's] obviously got the calling. His stuff is obviously well wrought, with dizzying pages and good rhythm.
Nasseer H. Azuri
Sacco's Palestine<</I> brilliantly and poignantly captures the essence of life under a repressive and prolonged occupation.
Journal of Palestinian Studies
Palestine deserves a place among the very best of documentary.
Comics Journal
I may as well get right to the point. Buy and read Joe Sacco's...Palestine.
From The Critics
[A] compassionate, insightful primer on the lives of Israeli soldiers, Palestinian refugees and children in the Middle East.
[A] compassionate, insightful primer on the lives of Israeli soldiers, Palestinian refugees and children in the Middle East.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560974321
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 83,587
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe Sacco lives in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of many acclaimed graphic novels, including Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde, But I Like It,
Notes from a Defeatist, The Fixer, War's End, and Footnotes in Gaza.

Edward W. Said was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature and of Kings College Cambridge, his celebrated works include Orientalism, The End of the Peace Process, Power, Politics and Culture, and the memoir Out of Place. He is also the editor, with Christopher Hitchens, of Blaming the Victims, published by Verso. He died in September 2003.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2011

    Another Palestinian propaganda book

    This book is typical Palestinian propaganda. The alleged "massacres" in Rafah and Khan Yunes in 1956 are studied by Joe Sacco as investigator, prosecutor and judge. He certainly is not fluent in Arabic if he speaks the language at all. Hamas interpreters, propaganda experts, were not mentioned, but Sacco was not walking alone in the desert. The testimonies where obtained 50 plus years after the event and are curiously identical. The book does give kind of generalized referrences, which allow distortion of history: In 1953 Gamal abdel Nasser took over Egypt with a strict anti Israel agenda. His foreign minister Muhamad Salah al-Din said: "The Arab people will not be embarrassed to declare: We shall not be satisfied except by the final obliteration of Israel from the map of the Middle East." Mahmood Ahmadinejad repeated this pledge in 2004. The Suetz Canal was blocked to Israel shipping. In 1955 Egypt created a Para military force made of Arabs from Gaza, Rafah and Khan Yunis the Fedayeen. Nasser declared 8/31/1955 that "There will be no peace on Israel's border because we demand vengeance and vengeance is Israel's death." These Fedayeen sabotaged Israeli institution, 364 Israeli were wounded and 101 killed, mostly civilians. By early 1956 additional 127 Israeli were maimed or wounded and 28 killed. Sacco mentions casually Israeli casualties that seem to him to be irrelevant, there is no sympathy for children, women who were not innocent by standers, but were deliberately slaughtered because they were Israeli and Jews. Yes, Sacco does not mention that Nasser closed not only the Suez Canal but also the Straits of Tyran which is life line for Israel. The UN security council resolution ordered Egypt to open the canal and the straits to Israel shipping, but Nasser refused. UN report from 12/15/1956 proves that hostilities of the Suez crisis started on 10/29/1956. In Khan Yunis on on 11/3/1956 in the midst of an on going war a clash between Egypt trained Fedayeen and IDF took place. Most of the killed were fighting men, the Fedayeen. Cease fire was declared on 11/6/1956, three days later. Regarding Rafah the alleged incident occurred on 11/12/1956. Israeli sources say that the Rafah residents and refugees thought that Israel forces left and started rioting. Israel admitted that about 30 Arabs were killed or wounded and Israel government through PM Ben Gurion and Golda Meir regretted this episode. In the UN accout of 12/15/1956 there is uncertainty of the number of casualties: "conflict in the accounts", "exact number not known", "persons allegedly killed","It has not been possible to verify individually each listed death" etc. Sacco is building his theory as if the numbers of casualties is exact, iron clad facts, which they are not. In Khan Yunis it was a military clash between IDF and the armed Fedayeen. Sacco must think that war is a football game with rules and regulation and "time outs" when Fedayeen can do any atrocity while Israel has to fight with arms tied behind the back. Furthermore, a Fedayeen who throws away or conceals his weapon is not an "innocent civilian". Both Israel and USA learned a bloody lesson what similar "innocent civilians" can do, when weapons and bombs are concealed and used against soldiers. The cartooning of the Arabs in the book presents nice people who are in extreme angst as they are led to the slaughter

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2003

    What is it like being a Palestinian? Why should you care?

    Starting with a typical attitude of 'Who cares?' Sacco shows us how his visit to the West Bank and Gaza in the early 1990s transformed him completely. Initially mocks himself as being a typical American, his mind full of stereotypes about ¿Palestinian terrorists¿ and such, barriers woven by decades of propaganda which stifles their humanity in our eyes, let alone allowing us to hear their voice! Enter Joe Sacco! With master strokes of a cartoonist¿s pencil, he succeeds single-handedly in shattering those barriers. He discovers the real Palestinians beneath the stereotypes. For the first time in an American publication, you actually see Palestinians as people, you enter their households, you talk to them, you listen to their problems, and you think about it. Well, so what? If you always thought that the Middle East problem is 'too complicated' or 'has been going on for too long' to be easily understood, it is time to get out your credit card and buy this book now. In this most enjoyable cartoon style that makes it hard for you to let go of the book, you will see things like you've never witnessed them before. This is the raw human story, not the clinically sterilized CNN version of events, or the dry history book polemics. I guarantee that after reading Sacco's Palestine, something will click and you will finally understand what's been going on, more clearly than you ever have before. WARNING: Not for the faint of heart!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2003

    Very Good Art, Accurate, Inspired, Like TinTin

    I totally enjoyed reading 'Palestine'. At first, I didn't know what to expect from a cartoon book like this. However Sacco brilliantly displays his mastery of the cartoon medium, using it to convey very complex ideas and make it understandable and tangible. His characters look so realistic they are almost ready to jump out of the page. I have one Palestinian friend and from what I know the characters and setting are very accurate representations of the people and landscape. The events that take place are also an accurate portrayal of the events in the early 1990s, towards the end of the first Palestinian uprising (or Intifada) against Israeli domination. One particularly memorable sketch is of that old man on p. 62 who describes how the Israelis destroyed his farm, kicked him out of his land, and uprooted his olive trees in order to make room for additional Jewish-only 'settlements'. 'It was like watching my children being killed in front of my eyes' he says about the Olive trees, while in Sacco's sketch you can see the tear-ducts frozen in wrinkles on the man's face. I never appreciated the misery of Palestinians until I read this book. I enjoyed this book so much I absolutely HAD to get Sacco's other books. Notes From a Defeatist represents his earlier works and as thus his skills as a cartoonist are not as well developed as here. The works contained there are generally shorter, too, preventing him from fully developing a topic. Still, it is an interesting and exciting reading, the part on the first war with Iraq is just as applicable today as 12 years ago. The other major Sacco work 'Safe Area Gorazde' is truly another masterpiece. I never thought I would ever be able to understand the complexities of the Bosnian conflict until I read Sacco's book which not only told me with words but showed me with pictures what had happened. The same is true with 'Palestine', which takes perhaps a more important role now as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is STILL going on. If you like to understand what is happening there, and like to read a good enjoyable book, get it. It is money and time well-spent.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Now More Than Ever

    This is one of my favorite graphic novels of all time. Palestine is one of those books that really shows that comics are not just for super heroes and escapist reading. The book follows Sacco in his travels through Palestine and the conversations that he has with local Arabs and Isrealis. I really enjoyed this read and I commend the way the hot-button political issues were handled: even-handed and humanely. Now, even more so than when I read it the first time, "Palestine" is more intriguing than ever. I very strongly recommend this book to people who whant to get a personal sense of the conflict and the individuals involved in it. The implementation of the graphic novel medium is especially helpful when words and artwork combine to give a true sense of actual experience. Thought provoking, creative, and beautifully rendered, this is a book that should be on anyone's list; comic book fan or no.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    amazing book!

    I just loved this book... it is witty, interesting, objective and draws the palestinian daily life in such a way that makes you feel like you are there with him in that street, room, or house. you can almost smell, touch and taste the moment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2002


    Sacco's insight and storytelling is breath-taking. He lives with Palestinians and recounts his day-to-day experiences, making you feel as if you were there, tasting every moment, every word, every feeling. You get a front row seat in the personal lives of the Palestinian people, and what they deal with under the (harsh) military occupation. Extremely informative. I've been to Gaza and could relate to everything Sacco presented, and it brought back all the memories as though I was re-living them. Couldn't put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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